Between Rogers, Telus, Sasktel and more, service providers spoil consumers for choice.
Look for features that you use regularly, since you will likely be tied to a contract when you start with a new company. Alternatively, some providers allow the option of month by month agreements without a long term contract, which often increases the cost of the actual phone.
To sign or not to sign?
Virgin and Koodo, among other service providers, promote the fact that they don’t use contracts. But other providers, including large companies like SaskTel and Telus, use a term contract between one and three years to offer cheaper phones when you sign. Some pay-as-you-go options exist as well.
SaskTel offers phone upgrades once a specified length of the contract is fulfilled but reinstates the contract along with the upgrade.
Without a contract, you are not tied down to a single company but you pay in full for your phone.
Talk or text?
Mobile phones dominate the telephone market worldwide, and many students no longer set up land lines at their places of residence. For these students, talk is just as important a feature as text or data.
Knowing how many minutes come with your plan and whether they apply to long distance numbers or only local calling can save you a lot of money. For those whose talk time well exceeds or falls below the amounts prescribed by a plan, pre-paid plans ensure that they only use what they need.
SaskTel has the best coverage in Saskatchewan, allowing 98 per cent of people in Saskatchewan access to their 3G network. This is mostly thanks to their role as main mobile provider in the province.
When it comes to companies that originate outside of the province, for example Telus and Koodo, the access to a 3G networks covers all across Canada with 93 to 95 per cent coverage in Saskatchewan. Virgin Mobile does not yet offer a 3G network in Saskatchewan.
SaskTel’s Talk, Text and Unlimited Data plan includes evening and weekend calling with unlimited text and data on smartphones for $60 a month. For non-smartphone users, basic talk and text plans start at $25 a month.
Koodo does not include data in their unlimited plans so it qualifies as a $25 add-on to the existing combos.
The Build Your Own Combo package, which allows users to pick the features that they are most likely to use, works best for smartphones — a 500 MB data plan for $25 is one of many useful options, especially given that additional data costs five cents per MB on Koodo.
Telus’s data plans for smartphones range from $50 for 500 MB to $90 for 5 GB of data.
Both plans include evenings and weekends, basic features like voice mail and call waiting. They also offer a choice between unlimited talk and text between you and five friends and unlimited out and incoming text, picture and video messages.
Virgin’s plans, like Telus and Koodo, are a sliding scale of more service for more cost, with plans ranging from $15 to $70 for talk and text. Again, like Telus and Koodo, data plans for smartphones are added to the cost of other features.